Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"The worst person in our hobby"

"His relentlessly mean-spirited, adolescent, and even disturbing posts long ago marked him as the worst person in our hobby."
-- Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, the Facebook feed

Well, it may seem odd to those with greater curiosity than I, but when I see a long comment from someone who plainly doesn't like me, I don't always read the whole thing. A natural protective impulse, of course, and maybe over-protective. So until I was out to lunch today and someone asked me about a bit of online drama from earlier in the week, I hadn't actually read the sentence above. And, WOW!

Someone, it seems, has decided that I'm a veritable Charles Augustus Milverton, the "worst man" of Sherlockiana.

Their preface, "It's been a number of years since SHFD gave up on a specific blogger," tells me that they haven't been following this blog's ongoing journey through Sherlockian life, and that they were plainly sent a link to a particular post by someone in the "LOOK AT WHAT HE WROTE!" club. I've had a lot of non-readers over the years who get passed a single post, and they are invariably the most incensed, coming at the words with an already-established preparation for furor. And limited information is always the best way to demonize another human being. So I kind of understand how they came to this place. I'm easy to disagree with, and if you ignore everything about me but a few select opinions, I am horrible.

But "the worst person in our hobby?"

I mean, that's a wee bit extreme. Instead of arguing any of my points, which are well able to be debated, they went straight for, not the jugular, but to elevating my very being to the pinnacle of bad Sherlocking. And seemed to say that I've held that post for a very long time, unbeknownst to me.

And that, that sort of reverse superlative demands a response, a response which I did not make on Sunday when I only glimpsed the last lines of the diatribe, since I didn't see it. And, truly, there is only one proper response to that statement:


A comment so extreme is going to have a few possible effects. One might be to drive someone from Sherlockiana never to return. Another? Weelllllll, it could be that, having been cast in such a role, left with no obvious path to redemption, and no way to lower the opinion of an authority so important as Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, a person might feel that certain restraints had been lifted. And that one could freely be expected to behave as, indeed, the worst person in our hobby.

So if I embrace this new title of "the worst person in our hobby," it could mean a real perspective enhancement. Because if I'm the worst person in our hobby? The rest of you guys are pretty special, and I will need to be sure to treat you as such. Good on you, you beautiful mother-Sherlockers.

But while we're at it, what are the outer limits of "our hobby" these days? I need to get a better idea of my new domain. Some of us might have a broader definition of that term than others, so while one might be the worst person in a very small pond, maybe they're not so bad for those who see the larger "ocean" view of the hobby. I mean, I'd hate to start making claims and run into the guy who is actually the worst person in our hobby. He might want to fight or something, and yikes!

I just don't know. It's just a lot to digest when you suddenly discover such a statement has been made about you. And it really makes me wish I could afford to attend a few more Sherlockian weekend events out there this year, just to remind people I'm still the same clumsily pleasant fellow they knew back when. But, hey, when you're the worst person in the hobby, you just don't get to as many events as the better Sherlockians. (Hey, I think I'm discovering side benefits to this title -- catch-all excuse!)

But really, my biggest takeaway from this whole debacle is that we all have to continue to try just a little bit harder in such fractious times. Not to be sure to make everybody happy by being as non-controversial as possible, but to continue to try harder to express the potentially disruptive ideas clearly. (Yes, "Nazis," obviously a trigger word, even in a seemingly fitting context. I should know that by now.) The ad hominem attack favored by the propaganda outlets remains a problem we all may have to deal with at some point in a disagreement -- it's just too easy. Sometimes you just have to take the hit and move on. And best of all, as with all Sherlockiana, just try to have a little fun with it.

"Worst person in our hobby."  Thanks, Sherlock Holmes for Dummies, whoever you are these days. Here's a little outro music for you. I'll save a karaoke number for you.

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